TAMPA, Fla.???A swing through Pennsylvania???s delegation revealed one common denominator: delegates were confident that they could deliver their state???s 20 electoral votes to the Romney-Ryan ticket this fall, thus putting the Keystone State in the GOP presidential column for the first time since 1988.
???Look at the base we???re starting with,??? State Party Chairman Rob Gleason told Human Events on the convention floor, ???We???re going into 2010 with a record number of state legislators, five new congressmen, a governor, lieutenant governor and a U.S. senator.??? He also noted that 53 out of 67 counties in Pennsylvania are in Republican hands.
Gleason also referred to the state???s controversial new law requiring a photo ID to vote and mentioned Al Schmidt, the Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia who recently created an uproar when he released a study showing numerous cases of fraudulent or erroneous voting in the city in ???08. The state???s new law requiring a photo ID to vote, Gleason said, ???will go a long way toward ensuring that doesn???t happen in 2012.???
The chairman added that vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan ???is playing very, very well in Pennsylvania.???
???Pennsylvania???s very much in play right now,??? said former Rep. Phil English, who represented Erie County from 1994-2008, ???Polls show President Obama, at most, six-to-eight percentage points ahead of Mitt Romney in our state. I???ve never seen it this close at this time. If the traditional Republican base comes together with blue-collar ???swing voters??????the populist Reagan Democrats???then the Romney-Ryan ticket can win.???
English agreed with Gleason that the selection of Ryan as a running mate would help in forging that coalition and was ???a brilliant choice.???
Keystone State GOPers are confident of a strong turnout in the most Republican counties. Ann Womble, longtime party activist in Lancaster County, told us that volunteers were ???fired up and ready to go ??? for the Romney-Ryan ticket. She also gave high marks to the choice of Ryan as a running mate, calling his convention address ???picture perfect???out of sight.???
Throughout the week in Tampa, there has been particular focus on the states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan???none of which have gone Republican for president in 24 years and all of which are very much in play now. Wisconsin (12 electoral votes) is Paul Ryan???s homestate and Michigan (10 electoral votes) is Romney???s state of birth. And Pennsylvania and its twenty electoral votes, as we learned this week, will be hotly competed for by the Romney-Ryan team.